Are you new to freelance writing? You can move from the world of “struggling writer” to that of the well-paid professional writer easily enough.
Here’s my favorite method: quid pro quo. That is, you do something for me, and I do something for you.
You can use the power of quid pro quo in many ways. It’s similar to writing pro bono, in some ways.
Freelance writing pro bono: when “free” isn’t free
We’ve discussed writing pro bono (sorry about all the Latin, but it gets the point across) to build a portfolio and get testimonials.
… contact organizations and companies and offer to write them something pro bono… Important: let people know you’re writing to build your writing samples, AND ask them for a testimonial. The testimonial is your “payment”.
Look on quid pro quo as a form of bartering.
How to use quid pro quo to become established fast
The simplest way to use quid pro quo is to create content in exchange for a link.
As you may know, links are worth money. They’re the default currency of the web. If you have an established website, you’ll be asked how much you charge for a text link.
Often, these exchanges are dangerous, and you shouldn’t consider them, because they’ll damage your site. However, if the link is of value to your audience, you might consider it.
What about links from sites which are valuable to you? Many sites publish guest posts, so you might write blog posts for websites from which you’d like a link.
Content takes time and money to create. So, you can offer content quid pro quo, to any site from which you’d like a link, even if they don’t accept guest posts.
A warning: never, ever offer junk content. Ensure that the content you create is unique, and valuable. Remember, quid pro quo MUST be an equal exchange.
Make it EASY to give you a link: offer something unique
Why would a website which doesn’t do link exchanges, or accept guest posts, use your content?
The short answer: because you offer something valuable, which they need. Many websites need reviews, for example, but reviews—especially well-considered reviews—are hard to get.
Let’s say you’ve just used a real estate agency to buy a house. Would they value a review for their website? Maybe. You could offer a review, in exchange for a link. If they refuse, you can offer a similar article “how I bought a house in (the city or state): the good and the bad” article to other real estate agencies.
Make certain that the website agrees to use your name, with a link to your website.
While one link won’t get you established, several links will. They’ll get you known for what you do. From then on, use the power of quid pro quo whenever you can.
Get started using quid pro quo: which links will benefit you?
If you have a freelance writing website, links will help you to get found by prospective clients and get hired. But what if you’re just starting? You don’t have a website.
You could create a page on LinkedIn, or on Facebook, and use that as your “site”. However, that’s dangerous. These networks can change their rules in a blink, so I suggest creating a one-page website.
Then, think about the types of websites visited by your ideal clients. Make a list. Create something you can offer these sites. Everything you offer should be unique. Remember, links are worth money, so create something of value.
Before you know it, your freelance writing business will be established. Have fun.
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Copywriter and marketing pro Angela Booth maintains a busy copywriting and ghostwriting practice. Fascinated by online marketing, she wrote one of the first business books for internet marketing, published by Allen & Unwin. She’s been an enthusiastic blogger since the late 1990s.